Missouri Lakes Have Something for Everyone (2024)

In southeast Missouri, near the cities of Piedmont and Ellington,Clearwater Lakecovers about 1,600 acres and is noted for its fishing. During summer months, fish for crappie and catfish. Nearby places to visit include the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and Sam A. Baker State Park. Plus, Peck Ranch Conservation Area has wildlife and offers elk tours. The lake has several campsites surrounding it as well as small resorts with swimming pools. Additionally, the lake’s local floating marina has what you need for your time at the lake.

Harry S Truman Reservoir (Truman Lake)

Named after the only Missourian ever elected president and located close to Warsaw and Clinton,Truman Lake– the largest in Missouri in terms of acreage – is great for fishing. It has abundant populations of crappie, bass and walleye. At the nearby Harry S Truman State Park, stay overnight at a campsite. They have a variety to choose from to meet your family’s camping needs.

For a spectacular view of the Truman Dam and Reservoir, visit the Truman Dam Visitors Center that sits atop Kaysinger Bluff. The observation deck offers sightings of waterfowl, bald eagles and turkey vultures. Inside the center, learn about the history of the Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks Valley from pre-civilization to modern day.

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Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks is located in central Missouri. It meanders through several cities including Osage Beach, Lake Ozark and Camdenton. It’sone of Missouri’s largest lakes with more than 1,100 miles of shoreline. Popular for boating and fishing, the lake area is also a well-known golf destination.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park neighbor the area. Both parks have hiking and spectacular views of the water, and the former has cave tours at Ozark Caverns. Bridal Cave is another must-see. Book the lantern tour and learn about the cave’s history in a unique and mysterious setting.

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Lake Pomme de Terre

A peaceful, 7,800-acre lake in central Missouri near Pittsburg and Hermitage,Lake Pomme de Terreis well-known among anglers seeking muskie and walleye. There are two public swimming beaches, hiking trails and approximately 240 campsites. Some other lodging options include: three yurts, four camper cabins, one full-service marina cabin and a lake house.

For another activity, book tickets to the Lucas Oil Speedway and watch competitive cars race around the track. End your day with dinner at The Crappie Hole, a local favorite on the lake’s northside that offers affordable, traditional eats.

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Lake Taneycomo

A popular destination for trout fishing,Lake Taneycomohas about 40 miles of shoreline. The lake is stocked with more than 700,000 rainbow and brown trout each year.

On its winding path, the lakeruns through the heart of downtown Branson. The main attraction in downtown is Branson Landing. Visitors can dine, shop and enjoy views of the water. The Landing is family-friendly – play games at Arcade City or get a photo taken at Buster’s Old Time Photos.

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Lake Wappapello

Nestled near a section of the Mark Twain National Forest is Lake Wappapello. It is an8,400-acre lakethat attracts anglers seeking largemouth bass and catfish. Nearby cities include Puxico, Williamsville and Poplar Bluff.

If you want to stay by the lake, Lake Wappapello State Park has a moderncampgroundwith cabins,plus rustic camper cabins. Land activities include hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is another attraction in the area. The refuge has 21,592 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, cypress-tupelo swamp, marsh and upland forest ecosystems.

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Long Branch Lake

Located near Macon,Long Branch Lakeis an excellent spot to fish for striped bass and channel catfish. Covering 2,400 acres, the lake has abundant recreational options and includes a sandy swimming beach in Long Branch State Park. There is also a marina store for your fishing, camping, boating and beachgoing needs. The park’s modern campground makes overnight stays comfortable for the whole family.

TheMaples Repertory Theatre is a nearby activity where viewers can see professional, live theatre shows. In downtown Macon, the West Winery is housed in an 1880’s building. You can watch the wine-making process from the wine tasting room, and maybe even help with the process yourself.

Mark Twain Lake

There’s plenty of space to boat and swim, as well as fish for crappie, at Mark Twain Lake as it expands across 19,000 acres. There are three shaded campgrounds with full hookup and electrical sites, and the public Spalding Beach is a popular place for families. Named after the area’s most famous resident, the lake is near the cities of Perry, Monroe City and Florida.

Just minutes from the lake, Mark Twain Lake Jellystone Park has a waterpark, swimming pool and mini-golf. Visit nearby Hannibal and learn about the town that inspired some of Mark Twain’s greatest works. In his memory, visitors can go to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, followed by a visit to the Mark Twain Cave (featured in some of his works!).

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Mozingo Lake

An often-overlooked gem, Mozingo Lake is a 1,000-acrenorthwest lake near Maryville with activities for the whole family: boating, fishing (the lake has good populations of bass and crappie), horseback riding, hiking, hunting and golf. For an overnight stay, book a family cabin, hook up your R.V. or camp in a tent.

For an afternoon outing, take a short drive to Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastery that has existed over 150 years. Another local destination is the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Walk into the Adoration Chapel and you will be in awe. It’s a Romanesque-style chapelwith mosaics spanning the walls. You can also visit the Relic Chapel; it houses over 550 first and second class relics of saints.

Smithville Lake

Near Kansas City, Smithville Lake spans7,000-plus acres and has 175 miles of shoreline. The area surroundingthe lake has campgrounds, biking trails and golf courses. Mountain biking is also a popular off-the-water adventure; there are 11.5 miles of rugged, single-track trails.

One local point of interest is the Shoal Creek Living History Museum. The museum has twenty-one structures with thirteen authentic 19th century buildings dating from 1807-1885. If you like dining and shopping, head to the Smithville Main Street District.

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Stockton Lake

Stockton Lake is located near Stockton and Bolivar and is nearly 25,000 acres. It is known as an excellent sail-boating destination. A generous and nearly-perpetual breeze from the southwest propels sailboats across the lake. If you’re not a sailing expert, don’t let that deter you from enjoying a day on the water. The marina at Stockton State Park has anASA-Certified sailing schoolwhere you can learn to take the helm.

Overnight stays at Stockton State Park range from lodges to campsites to cabins. Another nearby campground can be found at Hulston Mill Historical Park. The featured mill is said to have sent flour to units of the Union Army that were stationed in Springfield, Missouri.

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Table Rock Lake

With 800 miles of shoreline and spanning 45,000 acres, there’s abundant room for recreation onTable Rock Lake. Situated near Branson and Kimberling City, the lake is a popular spot for bass fishing. Branson’s live shows, Silver Dollar City and WonderWorks museum (a family-friendly STEM experience) are a short drive away.

If you have a hard time getting your crew off the water, embrace the lake life and stay in a houseboat.Five Star Houseboat Vacationsin Kimberling City offers boats that sleep 10, 14 or 16 people. With shared and private bedrooms and all the amenities you need, you will have a supremely comfortable stay.

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Missouri Lakes Have Something for Everyone (2024)
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